How The Clone Wars Succeeded and Failed

With the arrival of Star Wars Rebels, I thought it would be a good time to publish this guest post and look back at the last Star Wars animated series: The Clone Wars.  Please comment and love Icarus’ post on TCW.  His bio is below, if you would like more info.  (My thoughts on Rebels next week)

What can I say about The Clone Wars that hasn’t already been said? Star Wars fans hoped TCW would fill in some critical gaps in the three years between second-trilogy Star Wars films Attack Of The Clones and Revenge Of The Sith.  Bonus if it fixed a few mistakes in the prequels.  What we got instead were very uncomplicated story arcs and tastes and teases but not much more depth to the Star Wars ecosystem — InterGalactic Banking Clan anyone — certainly not enough to satisfy the appetite of even the more casual fan.

The Clone Wars says goodbye

The Clone Wars says goodbye

The series is over but I’m writing this from the perspective of what potential it had at the beginning.  To be sure, I tried to binge watch the entire series and found that I could only stand to watch one, maybe two episodes at a time.  It was painful to listen to Kabuki theater level dialog overemphasizing the importance of obvious plot devices at the expense of storytelling. That was probably because each episode has to appeal the limited experiences of its kids audience.  In every episode you had comically inept droids trying to kill Clone Troopers and vice versa.  You have to handle this with a certain delicacy for your young audience.  To simultaneously kill bad guys, kill some good guys yet not bring the horrors of war too close to light.  TCW had to do this on the small scale while also keeping its eye on the end game, setting up the landscape for ROTS.

You cannot talk about ROTS without talking about Order 66 and how thousands of Jedi were slaughtered by clone troopers without any hesitation or sense of loyalty to their Jedi generals. I could see the droid army following this order more to the letter than the clone one, although given the level of ineptness portrayed by the combat droids, along with the ease with which Jedi Masters Yoda and Windu dispatched them, the number of Jedi actually killed would have been substantially lower.

I’ve always asked myself how could you pull something like this off?   Putting aside the logistics of getting word simultaneously to every despot in the galaxy, one thing that bothered me was in the movie, they show every Jedi getting ambushed because they were in a vulnerable position.  Yet the Jedi are almost godlike in their awareness and certainly wouldn’t have been just heading into battle as the order came in.  While the galaxy’s preeminent mystics/warriors can be caught by surprise, it’s also just as likely the Empire’s spin doctors exaggerated the number of Traitors eliminated under Order 66 with many more  Jedi  driven into hiding.

Clone trooper clone wars s5ep18War changes everyone and it is possible that Order 66 succeeded because the clone troopers saw the Jedi as an actual threat to the Republic.  Remember to outsiders, the Jedi are a very secretive group that keeps their Archives, a vast repository of knowledge, to themselves (Vatican anyone?). If you view The Force as a hokey religion and the Jedi as the Temple Priests, it follows that ordinary soldiers could see the Jedi as roadblocks to peace.

Though I haven’t seen it yet, I’m aware of the Fives/Tup arc that almost exposed Order 66 prematurely.  I’m probably way off on this but I suspect that arc serves to demonstrate that while moving toward complete domination of the Republic, Chancellor Palpatine wasn’t quite there yet and there is always the slim hope of a few people being in the right place at the right time

What are your thoughts on Order 66 and the clone troopers?

About me:  I am what you would designate as a casual fan at best.  When the original trilogy was out, the conventional “wisdom” at the time was that you could either like Star Wars or Star Trek, not both.  However, I like Star Wars and Star Trek and if that makes me a freak so what. Being from Chicago, I also like the White Sox and the Cubs except when they play each other in inter league.  If you like what you read, please read my regular blog at ChicagoNow and/or my personal blog and if you are on Facebook please give me a “like” at Mysteries-of-Life and of course feel free to follow me on Twitter at @Icarus2013.
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2 thoughts on “How The Clone Wars Succeeded and Failed

  1. I also thought TCW was intended for a “young audience” — and too young for my taste. I made it through maybe the first season before I gave up.

    I’ve also grumbled about the changes to the canon by TCW. Regarding Order 66 in particular, TCW added the “biochip” explanation for the clones’ turning on the Jedi. Personally, I hate this explanation as it takes away from how clever Palpatine was. The original explanation was simply that the Jedi had committed treason (which is true — they attempted to assassinate the Republic head of state without trial) so Order 66 was justified, and the Jedi had no forewarning because the clones were simply carrying out a justified order without any malice. The fact that Palpatine managed to outmaneuver the Jedi into getting them to commit treason is a testament to his (evil) genius, but the “biochip” means that Palpatine could just order them to execute Order 66 for any reason at all — including no reason.

    The worst part is that now the EU has been demoted to “Legends” while TCW is canon. I’ve always found the EU much more interesting so the fact that it has been demoted below TCW is really annoying. I like to think in my mind that the EU is canon and TCW never happened.

  2. Pingback: The Highs, The Lows, and The Books I Read In Between (2014) | Star Wars Anonymous

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